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Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones
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Girl, Hero

by Carrie Jones

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Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

Liliana's (or Lili, as her friends and family call her) world is slowly falling apart.

Her mother's new boyfriend is a freak who has a nasty alcohol addiction and creeps Lili out as he stands silently outside of her bedroom every night. Then there's her father, who is a little emotional and very forgetful, who Lili loves a lot, but just can't seem to like. To top it all off, her sister is in an abusive relationship and the one person she can turn to for relief, her best friend, Nicole, has all of a sudden become a two-faced backstabber.

All Lili wants in her life is a hero. Seeing that there is no one in her real life to turn to she writes letters to John Wayne. He may be a dead cowboy, but at least he is a positive influence in Lili's life and knows what it takes to become a hero. When Lili befriends Sasha, a resident thespian, she convinces Lili to try out for the school play. Thinking there's nothing to lose, Lili goes for it, hoping for the best. Along the way she meets Paolo, a wildcard in her foul hand of cards. He is sweet, caring, and extremely hot! Paolo, along with Sasha and a few others, help Lili on her quest to becoming a hero.

How to tell you about this book??... It is powerful, hardcore, and utterly breathtaking. It made me cry and laugh and scream. Carrie Jones doesn't hold back and makes us realize how lucky we are to have a life that isn't infiltrated with hardship. This was one of the few books that actually made me cry. The situations that the characters were put into were told with such emotion that I couldn't help but get all worked up. When I felt the characters did something stupid I screamed, when the teens were up to no good I laughed, and most of all I cried to think that someone as sweet as Lili had to endure such pain.

The whole story is told through Lili's letters to John Wayne, so we're able to really get to know the true Lili. She didn't hold anything back in those letters where she was searching for a hero. Not only was Lili's character great, but I loved how she found herself. Even though she suffered from unimaginable heartache, she was still able to find it inside herself to be the best possible person that she could be.

Overall, GIRL, HERO was an outstanding book that dealt with some of the hardest subjects. There was abuse, friendship, loss, and love, which all combined to form one heck of a poignant and beautiful novel that I will never, ever forget. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Her mother has recently allowed an old friend to move in with them on a temporary basis until he gets back on his feet. However, Lily suspects that her mother just doesn't want to be alone and this stranger is just next in line for her mother's affections. We learn that Lily has had to witness her mother going from man to man - and, as most stories go, these include the not-so-stellar characters.

My heart went out to Lily and her desire to follow in Mr. Wayne's footsteps towards herodom. Picturing myself in her shoes, just on the cusp of high school, I cannot imagine how much she had to grow up based on her family life. And it also makes me warm and fuzzy when she landed the leading role - go, theater rats! :) She was definitely on the right track to high school happiness - not caring whether it makes her popular, finding like-minded friends, etc.

Of course, there was a boy in the picture - his name was Paolo, and he was incredibly sweet :) I mean, how hard is it to find a boy who understands that you adore John Wayne and goes out of his way to watch his movies and even quote from them, accent and all? ( )
  theepicrat | Apr 1, 2009 |
Liliana's mother's boyfriend is just no good. He's not a real, upright man like John Wayne. The book is told as a series of letters Liliana writes to the late actor, telling of her life and family, of her high school, of getting the lead in the school play, and, possibly, a boyfriend. ( )
  lilibrarian | Mar 30, 2009 |
This novel started off slowly for me, but the more I read it the more I really, really liked it. It's a bit odd. But I loved the main character Liliana and I loved how the things that happened in the book were not all bad and not all good. I loved that there were very complex characters and that even by the end they weren't all tucked into neat little boxes. I will review this on my blog and I will have more to say then. Probably this book won't be everyone's cup of tea (like I said, it's a little odd), but I think it's one of my favorites this year.

Read more on my blog:
http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/11/book-review-girl-hero.html ( )
  abbylibrarian | Nov 2, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0738710512, Hardcover)

Figuring out who you are is more than just picking drama club over cheerleading and Lily isn't the first high school freshman to be a bit confused over who she wants to be. When Lily wins a major role in the school's musical, she sees new ways to fit in, yet still be herself. Plus, Paolo, the totally hot guy who doesn't make fun of her rather vintage John Wayne obsession, is also going to be in the production. The thrill of her new place in school dims when Lily returns to the real drama of her home life. Dangerous men swirl around her needy mother and traumatized older sister and the men who she used to count on are either inconsistent or dead. Lily wishes for someone to stand up and take charge, someone strong just like her movie hero, John Wayne. Writing letters to the dead screen legend, Lily struggles to find someone to believe in, ultimately finding a hero inside herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:42 -0400)

High school freshman Lily pours her heart out in letters to her hero, dead movie star John Wayne, in which she tells him about the death of her beloved stepfather, her mother's abusive boyfriends, her fears that her father is gay, getting the lead in the high school play, and her burgeoning romance with a classmate who reminds her of Mr. Wayne.… (more)

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